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Rahul Gandhi offers prayers at Gurudwara in Rajnandgaon

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Raipur, Nov 10: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday offered prayers at a Gurudwara in Rajnandgaon.

The Congress Chief who kickstarted the election campaign yesterday, held a mega roadshow yesterday in Rajnandgaon, the constituency of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh.

He also addressed public meetings in Dongargarh, Rajnandgaon and Kanker.

Gandhi along with AICC In-charge of Chhattisgarh, PL Punia, Chhattisgarh PCC Chief, Bhupesh Baghel launched the Chhattisgarh Congress Manifesto, three days ahead of the first phase of assembly polls on November 12.

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Politics

Nitish Kumar likely to expand cabinet in December

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Nitish Kumar Sad

Patna, Dec 1 : Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is likely to expand his cabinet in December as the winter session of the assembly concluded in November after the formation of the new state government.

During this time the opposition parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress hurled political barbs at the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government.

There is wide speculation across the political spectrum especially with the opposition RJD claiming that not a single Muslim would be given a cabinet berth in the Nitish government.

Not a single Muslim candidate from the ruling NDA has reached the Bihar assembly so it is certain that if the Bihar CM wants to have a Muslim face in the cabinet, he would likely be a Legislative Council member.

During the recent Bihar elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not field a single Muslim candidate while the JD-U fielded 11.

As per the constitutional provisions, overall 36 ministers can be appointed in the state cabinet which at present has 13 ministers, including the Chief Minister. There are only four JD-U ministers besides Nitish Kumar. Twenty two more ministers are yet to be appointed.

Mevalal Chaudhary was also included as cabinet minister in the Nitish Kumar-led government but later resigned for alleged involvement in corruption. At present, all cabinet ministers have been assigned five departments each. Due to this Nitish Kumar may soon expand his cabinet regarding which he held a meeting with senior JD-U leaders on November 29.

Sources say that Nitish’s cabinet is likely to be expanded soon. If sources are to be believed, a meeting of the NDA would soon be held where Nitish would discuss the prospective names of MLAs to be inducted as ministers into the cabinet.

In this cabinet expansion, at least 10 new faces from the BJP could get an opportunity which may include MLAs who are young and belong to the Other Backward Classes (OBC) and the Dalit community.

The JD-U could also give an opportunity to new faces from the party in the cabinet expansion and may also include a Muslim minister.

After the Bihar election results, the JD-U is playing the role of the ‘younger brother’ in the NDA government since it had won less assembly seats than the BJP. The JD-U has already started planning its future political course of action.

A JD-U leader believes that as expected the party did not get the support of the Muslim voters in Bihar, whose brunt the party had to bear in the recent elections.

Nitish Kumar could try to send a message to the Muslim voters by giving a ministerial berth to a Muslim from the party.

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Entertainment

After getting ‘ticket’ to legislature, Urmila Matondkar joins Shiv Sena

Matondkar quit the Congress in a huff on September 10 last year, alleging party infighting, post-defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gopal Shetty in Mumbai North constituency.

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Urmila Matonkar

Mumbai, Dec 1 : In Indian politics, prominent personalities or leaders usually first join a party and then are rewarded with a ticket for legislatures or parliament.

In what is said to be an unprecedented change from the norms, Bollywood actress Urmila Matondkar got a ‘ticket’ first and then officially joined the Shiv Sena, in the presence of senior leaders, here on Tuesday.

Shiv Sena President and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray accorded Matondkar a warm welcome to the party fold while his wife Rashmi Uddhav Thackeray tied her a thread, ‘Shiv Bandhan’ symbolizing her ties with the new party.

Soon after that, she bowed with folded hands and paid her respects before a wall-portrait of the founder-patriarch of Shiv Sena, the late Balasaheb Thackeray and his wife Meenatai Thackeray, at the Thackeray residence, ‘Matoshri’ in Bandra east.

The development came after Matondkar remained in a ‘denial mode’ for 14 months since she quit the Congress in September 2019, and even after she got a ‘ticket’ from the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) to the Maharashtra Legislature’s upper house.

In anticipation of her joining, the MVA last month (Nov. 2020) recommended Matondkar’s name – along with 11 others of MVA – to Raj Bhavan for a coveted nomination to the Maharashtra Legislative Council from the quota of Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

Matondkar quit the Congress in a huff on September 10 last year, alleging party infighting, post-defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections at the hands of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Gopal Shetty in Mumbai North constituency.

Earlier, prior to the October 2019 Maharashtra Assembly polls, there was intense speculation that she would join either the Shiv Sena, Sharad Pawar’s Nationalist Congress Party or even Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, but she had scoffed it as rumours.

An outspoken person known for her bold stand on various issues, a couple of months ago, she and actress Kangana Ranaut were engaged in a verbal scuffle after the latter made certain remarks targeting Matondkar on the social media.

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India

Sangwan withdraws support to Haryana govt over farmers’ protest

He was among seven Independent legislators who won the assembly elections last year. They backed the government.

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farmers at Sindhu border

Chandigarh: A day after resigning as the Haryana Livestock Development Board Chairman, Independent legislator Sombir Sangwan on Tuesday withdrew his support to the BJP-JJP coalition government in the state owing to the farmers’ agitation against new farm laws.

In a statement, he said atrocities are being unleashed on the farmers who are on an agitation in support of their demands.

“I cannot remain associated with the government in the present circumstances and decided to part ways with the state government,” said Sangwan.

He was among seven Independent legislators who won the assembly elections last year. They backed the government.

One of the Independents, Ranjit Chautala, has been inducted into the Cabinet, four others have been appointed chairmen of boards and corporations.

The BJP had won 40 of the 90 Assembly seats in 2019 and formed the government with Jannayak Janta Party’s support, which had won 10 seats. The Congress had won 31 seats.

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